April 13, 2019

Statement from CU Board of Regents Chair Sue Sharkey and Vice Chair Jack Kroll

We want to set the record straight about the search process that resulted in the Board of Regents voting unanimously to name Mark Kennedy as a finalist for the presidency of the University of Colorado

We empaneled a search committee, led by Regents Heidi Ganahl and Irene Griego, that had well-respected faculty from each of our campuses, graduate and undergraduate students, and alumni and community leaders from across our state. The search committee narrowed the pool of candidates and interviewed 10 candidates over a two-day period in March. They asked probing questions and worked hard to advance six extremely qualified candidates to the board.

The regents met and interviewed candidates for two days earlier this month. We spent hours with each candidate. Mark Kennedy spoke with us at length about his current support for same-gender marriages, how he worked productively with the LGBTQ community at UND and hired its first LGBTQ coordinator, and that he supports diversity, both on the campus and in whom he hires. He also spoke with us about his leadership style, strategic planning and collaborative relationships through the shared governance process. We did not rush and did not compromise in our efforts to find the strongest candidate.

Our staff then spoke with and received strong references from the chair of the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education, the chancellor of the University of North Dakota system, and the immediate past chair of the University of North Dakota Faculty Senate, among others —   all before we met and unanimously voted to name Mark Kennedy finalist. The process of formal and informal reference checks continues, as it was always intended to continue while we prepare for our upcoming votes.

We all thought Mark was the best pick. Reports that the nine-month search process was rushed are inaccurate. The next crucial stage of the process is gathering the input and feedback of the university community after it hears from Mark Kennedy.

The Board of Regents had the information it needed to name Mark Kennedy finalist. We believe now what we did then – his skills and experience in business, government and higher education would make him a great president of the University of Colorado. We look forward to the university community hearing from him and providing their feedback. We trust they will have an open mind throughout the process. Listening and thinking critically before forming opinions are the hallmarks of a great university.

We stand by the thorough and thoughtful process that got us to this point. We thank everyone — students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members — who have helped with the search so far and those who will provide us feedback in the weeks to come.

Sue Sharkey is chair and Jack Kroll is vice chair of the University of Colorado Board of Regents.